Last post before Cuba, so where else but Royal Tunbridge Wells to say goodbye to proper beer for a week (I think).
Paul Bailey has written about the merits of my in-laws town in increasingly glowing terms recently, and among the new places he’s mentioned it was the Fuggles Beer Cafe that appealed most.
This is a rectangular section of a former department store (Noakes, according to Mrs RM who seemed an expert on it’s underwear range), and has the sort of decor seen in many larger micropubs.
Where it impressed was in the detail, from the beautifully maintained and spotless interior to a beer range both ambitious and sensibly judged.
I saw an impressive amount of cask sold in the hour or so we were there this Monday lunchtime. The cask varied from very local Tonbridge to a gorgeous 6% Dark Star at £4, almost a bargain (NBSS 4).
The keg range was as wide as you’d get in a Port Street, Tap or Mono, for instance, and again at good prices. Mrs RM had a Burning Sky and the Buxton, which confirmed my appreciation of those two breweries stronger products.
We shared the cheese and meat platter between the four of us; some superb cured meats and bread, though not at normal ploughmans prices.
The staff were chatty and friendly as part of an efficient operation that was pleasantly pubby (blokes drinking at the bar). Novel toilet signs too.
In a town where only the Royal Oak and more recently the Bedford have impressed me, this really impressed, a little bit of Piccadilly or Falmouth in commuter land.
NB This may be my last post for a week as I tackle overseas wi-fi. Back soon with a report from Rotherham, no doubt.